Saturday, April 19, 2008

TNP (19-4-08)

Here's the article that came out in the New Paper yesterday that I believe Adriane was referring to. Here's another article about the AVA monitoring the area. As you can see, more than 2000 dogs were killed last year. While the number is much less than the number of cats killed (and I do believe the number has come down somewhat - but again I'm not as familiar with the dog statistics), it is still pretty high. Here's the stark reality - there is nowhere for these dogs to go. All the arguments about removing dogs and putting them in shelters is the same as for cats, (though arguably dogs are less fertile and hence reproduce less prolifically).

While again I understand that people are more concerned about dogs running around loose, as opposed to cats, we do have people who use the same arguments about cats. I'm sure we've heard them all, ie cats might attack (and yes they may - if provoked into defending themselves), that cats are a nuisance/danger and should be removed and placed somewhere else. Dogs are obviously larger and are viewed as more of a physical threat than cats (though hearing some of the complaints I used to - and still - hear about cats you wouldn't think so). Again I do sympathise with the caregivers - having their cats killed can only be extremely painful. I can understand that they are at their wits' end and unsure of what to do to stop their cats be killed. I also know there's no easy solution, but to say that the dogs should be removed and not killed is akin to complainants saying they just want the cats taken away by the AVA and not killed, or hopefully adopted out. It's just not going to happen.

So what is the solution? Again, I am not an expert about dogs - but here are two things Ricky from ASD mentioned. One, food attracts the dogs - they are hungry and want to eat. If they know there is food being left in an area, then they move in. This may be why they are attracted to areas where cats are being fed. So ensure the area is clean afterward and food isn't left around (though this is easier said than done especially if you have irresponsible feeders around). Two, if the territory is perceived to be unfriendly, they, like cats, will move away. One thing to do is to use the supersoaker, pots and pans method to try and drive them away. With a lot of noise, and being 'shot at' by a watergun which is uncomfortable but which doesn't hurt them, they'll learn the area is not friendly and will avoid it.

One other thing to remember is that as more and more land in Singapore is developed, the areas where the dogs COULD comfortably live without coming into contact with people is shrinking. It's similar to the macaques who are finding themselves confronted by infringement in areas which were previously their homes and which were 'safe'. With more and more tracts being developed, this is probably only going to get worse.


Anonymous said...

Its sad that the more developed a country becomes the lower the tolerance for animals Bangkok there are free roaming dogs all over the place and no one bats an eye. Over here people get agitated over things as mundane as discarded banana peels, let alone stray animals.

Anonymous said...

Jurong used to be mainly an industrial people are moving in and recently there have been proposals to build tourist attractions there. Where are the dogs going to go? While 2000 might not sound like alot remember that there are far more stray cats than dogs out there, thanks to AVA's overzealousness in catching strays.

Dawn said...

One of the things about cats is that they're obviously smaller and more spry. If they've run into a drain or some other small space, as anyone who has ever trapped will know, they can be well neigh impossible to trap - and pest control isn't going to go every night back to the same spot to trap, unlike caregivers. Dogs on the other hand have limited places they can run to just because of their size alone.

Anonymous said...

i agreed with both hands and legs up for the last paragraph!

c'mon human..
we have to be realistic. our land is already so small and keep building..
there will be no wildlife anymore~

moreover.. where did STRAYS come from?
it's all the HUMAN doing, who created them by not sterilizing and abandoning.

Anonymous said...

Read 'Singapore does such a great job of living with our cultural diversity, maybe now we can start learning to live with our biodiversity too.'

American primatologist Michael D. Gumert.

Anonymous said...

Read Love them or hate them, it is simply not possible to wish stray dogs away. We have to learn to co-exist with them

and mind you, that's in India.
In Singapore, where $$ is there in the coffer to sterilise ALL the stray dogs and cats, but the government continues to spend $$ on endless killing! I think it is more than half a million dollars spent year after year to kill the strays!
So much for 1st world country but worse than 3rd world attitude towards animals in our midst!

When is AVA going to wake their "bloody idea" and to something right, since the Stray Cat Rehab Scheme!? For goodness sake, get experts in to advocate humane control, someone like Primatologist!!
Tell people that if they complain about stray dogs or cats, it means DEATH to them!

American primatologist Michael D. Gumert said in today's Sunday Times,
"Trapping is not the long-term answer, he added.

'In the United States, game commissions won't come and set traps in your yard just because a deer wandered into your garden. Singaporeans are lucky to have such a responsive park service for nuisance wildlife. It seems a pity to kill a monkey just because it did something like take a cupcake from your window sill,' he said.

Rather than having to respond to every call and complaint from the public, agencies such as NParks and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority should focus on 'hot zones' where human-macaque conflict is high to develop resolutions, he added.

'It is important for people to know that every time you call to make a complaint, it's a monkey death threat as trapped monkeys are never released,' he said.

He hoped that Singaporeans could begin to learn more about their macaque population and find ways of living together.

'Singapore does such a great job of living with our cultural diversity, maybe now we can start learning to live with our biodiversity

Anonymous said...

Love them or hate them, it is simply not possible to wish stray dogs away. We have to learn to co-exist with them

Working link to above posting.

Dawn said...

Yes - great article, thanks for posting it. I read it this morning and thought that what he said about loaning of traps was very true - you kill a monkey because it stole a piece of food?

And yes, there was an article a few years ago that said that I believe in excess of half a million dollars is spent every year killing both cats and dogs. Money which Anonymous rightly said could better be spent on sterilisation.

Very interesting article on the dogs - so it seems the vacuum effect works with dogs as well.

Anonymous said...

Wish ST puts up articles in support of animals living in our city state like the link above.

Dr Gumert should continue to educate people about animals - monkeys included.

Dawn said...

Yes - and I'm glad to hear there may be TNR for monkeys too!

Anonymous said...

What is annoying and I think amounting to being irresponsible is that AVA DOES NOT TELL REQUESTERS FOR TRAPS (for any "nuisance" animal) is that the trapped animal will be killed! Is this a willful omission so that AVA does not have to put in any more effort, than just killing the trapped animal, to resolve the complaint?
Can't AVA work with SPCA and the CWS to carry out a project, of say a period of time to monitor the loan of traps, so as to collect data on the nature of the complaints and then see how the complaints can be resolved humanely.
Isn't this the direction to go to be evidence-based in their work?
Isn't this how taxpayers can judge if the big shots in the AVA deserve the high civil servant pay?

Dawn said...

Anonymous - that's something we brought up when I was working with CWS. I also drafted a brochure to ask the AVA to consider putting it in every trap loaned out so that people know that there are options in December. I'm not sure if they have responded to CWS yet.